Football: Saints on the march

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The Independent Online
Southampton. . . . . 3

Sheffield United. . .2

DESPITE a late goal by the substitute Ian Bryson and a flurry of last-minute chances, Sheffield United were condemned to yet another away defeat by an improving Southampton team who have now reached the unaccustomed heights of mid-table security.

The crowd had barely finished paying their respects to one veteran No 6 called Moore before they were paying their compliments to another. With the opening formalities only just over Southampton's captain - Kevin of that name - met Matthew Le Tissier's corner with a glancing touch to open the scoring.

Southampton know that goals can come in quick succession after their experience last week at Old Trafford and they promptly added to their tally. Breaking up field at speed, Jason Dodd fed the ball into the box and Jeff Kenna blasted it home for his first senior goal.

Two up after just four minutes Southampton were looking for more. Their poor visitors, lacking both regular wingers, seemed unable to make anything of the little possession they won. Only Deane's skill and gangling awkwardness seemed to offer hope. And in the 37th minute it was his header from a flicked-on corner that presented Brian Gayle with a simple tap-in. Southampton, however, promptly restored their advantage when Ian Dowie beat Alan Kelly in the air after a well-worked corner.

United's concerted pressure early in the second half appeared to have come to nothing and Bryson's strike arrived too late.

Southampton: T Flowers; J Kenna, M Adams, T Widdrington, R Hall, K Moore, M Le Tissier, J Dodd, I Dowie, N Maddison, N Banger. Subs not used: G Cockerill, M Bound, I Andrews (gk). Manager: I Branfoot.

Sheffield United: A Kelly; M Ward, T Cowan (C Bradshaw, 17 min), J Gannon, B Gayle, P Beesley, M Lake (I Bryson, 59 min), J Hoyland, A Cork, B Deane, A Littlejohn. Sub not used: P Kite (gk). Manager: D Bassett.

Referee: I Borrett (Norfolk).

Goals: Moore (1-0, 2 min); Kenna (2-0, 5 min); Gayle (2-1, 37 min); Dowie (3-1, 40 min); Bryson (3-2, 83 min).